Barclays Spaces for Sports continues its support for StreetChance, a programme using cricket to engage young people in areas affected by youth crime and anti-social behaviour.
England cricketer Graeme Swann and former Pakistan cricketer Wasim Akram attended an event organised this week in Manchester to officially mark the expansion of the initiative.
They conducted a coaching session on spin and swing bowling for youngsters from across the UK, using a tapeball – a tennis ball wrapped in tape to simulate a cricket ball.
StreetChance, run in conjunction with the Cricket Foundation, has benefited nearly 15,000 young people across 15 London boroughs since it launched in 2008.
The three-year extension will see the programme reach a total of 20 London boroughs, as well as Birmingham, Dewsbury and Manchester.
In addition, StreetChance will launch in Bristol this autumn, and in Hull and Liverpool in 2012.
Kirk Harrison, Head of Barclays Spaces for Sports, said: "StreetChance is delighted to be continuing its association with StreetChance following on from the successes achieved thus far."
“Furthermore we are acutely aware of the need to give young people the opportunity to develop new skills and relationships with both their peers and those delivering the programme which in turn should give them a brighter future.”
Wasim Khan, Chief Executive of the Cricket Foundation, added: “I grew up playing street cricket and have seen first-hand the positive impact it can have on individuals and communities.
“StreetChance provides vital opportunities for young people in deprived areas to help increase aspiration and improve community cohesion. StreetChance, and cricket in general, crosses social, racial and religious divides.”
This week’s event coincides with the publication of a survey which revealed that the majority of young people become bored within the first three weeks of their summer school holidays.
A total of 1,000 people aged from 12 to 18 took part in the poll, commissioned by StreetChance.
Asked why they thought so many young people were involved in riots and looting which took place across England last month, almost a third (31 per cent) of respondents in London said it was because young people get bored during the summer holidays. This compares to the same response from 23 per cent of respondents nationwide.
Lack of respect was also referenced, with 46 per cent of those polled saying many of their peers do not respect the police.
Another 43 per cent of respondents said people joined in the riots and looting because they believed they would not get caught.
A fifth of the young people surveyed said they were “angry” and “disappointed” by the riots.
Kirk shared his thoughts on findings from the survey: “The harsh reality of the anger and violence witnessed over the past few weeks means that giving young people the chance to take part in diversionary activities such as StreetChance is all the more important.”